Angel Di Maria Will Be Manchester United’s Saviour


Angel Di Maria has become the latest Manchester United signing after joining the club for a British record transfer fee of £59.7m. The Argentinian will thrive under Louis van Gaal’s managership and will become United’s saviour.

The player was officially announced at United’s Carrington training ground yesterday, just hours before MK Dons beat van Gaal’s men 4-0 in the Capital One Cup. Di Maria has signed a five-year deal with wages thought to be around £200,000 a week. The initial fee was £59.7m, but will rise to around £70m with add-ons.

Di Maria was instrumental in Real Madrid’s 2013/14 campaign with finished with a famous Champions League win over city rivals Atletico Madrid in the final. The midfielder won man-of-the-match in that game and thoroughly deserved the award after a tremendous season.

Aug 10, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Inter Milan midfielder Esteban Cambiasso (19) controls the ball away from Real Madrid midfielder Angel Di Maria (22). Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

So why was he allowed to leave the European giants? His journey down the pecking order began last summer when Madrid signed Gareth Bale for a record fee. Then just 12 months later, James Rodriguez signed from AS Monaco and another left-footed midfielder joined the club. It was then that Di Maria was allowed to leave.

Angel Di Maria has claimed that he never wanted to leave Real Madrid but has stated that he will do his best for Manchester United and wants to stay for the long-term.

"“Unfortunately today I have to go, but I want to make clear that this was never my desire. I went to the World Cup with the hope of receiving a new contract, which never came. Many things and many lies were spoken. They always wanted to attribute the initiative to me to leave the club, but I did not.  There are many things that I value and many of them have nothing to do with my salary. I hope to progress at Manchester United, one of the biggest clubs in the world, where I wish to make history.”"

One of Di Maria’s greatest qualities is the way he can run with the ball at such pace. He can beat defenders with and without the ball at his feet and that is something that Manchester United have missed since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.

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With van Gaal’s philosophy of playing three in the midfield and two wing backs, Di Maria can fit seamlessly into a left-sided midfield position as he has done so successfully for Argentina. Since playing in this position for his national team, the player has transformed into a much more all-rounded player.

Jonathan Wilson, ever astute tactical genius and author of the influential book ‘Inverting The Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics’, said this about him:

"“He pulled wide when Cristiano Ronaldo went inside. He shuttled to provide the link between the midfield of Xabi Alonso (or Sami Khedira in the Champions League final) and Luka Modric and the forward line, [and] he sat in when Marcelo overlapped him from full-back.”"

Angel Di Maria is also a very strong character and proof of this comes from the most recent World Cup in Brazil. When Argentina took on Switzerland in the second-round, everything seemed to go wrong for the team. Angel Di Maria was particularly disappointing with statistics of giving the ball away 51 times and a pass completion percentage of just 63%.

However badly Di Maria was, he never hid from the ball or shirked his responsibility. He continued going forward and trying to make decisive passes. This persistence was rewarded when he netted the winner in the 118th minute. He then went on to help set up the winning goal in the quarter-final against Belgium.

Angel Di Maria did not play well against Belgium in the World Cup, but never gave up and won the match for his national team.

This persistence and desire to succeed is something that Manchester United is something that they desperately need in their time of need. Louis van Gaal will be hoping that Di Maria will be an instant success at Old Trafford, but even if he is not, he will not give up and he wont shy away until he becomes a far better player.

Di Maria coming to England is an outcome which always seemed likely at some stage in his career. Reproducing last season’s Real Madrid form in a red shirt will surely give Di Maria a lasting place in the affections of United fans.

 Joel Orme is an editor for We Are Hooligans. Follow him on Twitter @JOrmeFootball, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.